Sunday, April 22, 2012

Marvel's The Avengers ★ ★ ★ ★★

Superheroes made to rule us 
Release Dates
April, 2012 UK 26th April, 2012 USA 4th May, 2012
Other Countries Release Dates


            Having just seen Marvel's The Avengers for a second time with the kids on the weekend, I am updating my rating from 4 1/2 to 5 stars. This film really hits the mark in its aim and for that it deserves a perfect score.
            When I attended the preview, despite receiving fabulous Avengers 3D glasses and a free popcorn and drink, (thankyou gorgeous Disney people), I felt it lagged in a few spots.  On second viewing though, I thought, ''What the heck was I thinking? This is the best fun you can have at the movies.'' 
             If you get a chance see it a second time, see it in 2D.  I haven't seen the 2D version but my fellow reviewers assure me it is better in 2D thanks to different editing and sharper images.
             The snarky reviewers ages eleven and nine also loved it. In fact, tough critic aged eleven said it was the best film he had ever seen. To put this in perspective he has, so far in 2012, seen thirty-two films on screen. 
             One thing for sure, when it comes to Marvel's The Avengers, once is not enough.


             Picture our recent Easter and birthday, extended family dinners.  The conversation, instead of the usual sports scores, has altered to movie totalling.  “Have you seen ‘Captain America’?  ‘Thor’?  Can I borrow your ‘Iron Man’ DVD?    Do I need to see ‘The Hulk’?  I need to prepare.”
One unconscientious relative had not seen any of the Marvel Super-hero films.  So, over the past two weeks they greeted us with exclamations of, “We’ve seen ‘Captain America’ now.  It’s ‘Thor’ tomorrow.”  Young and old already purchased their tickets too.  They are not waiting more than a week to see this one.
Well, we’ve all waited a long four years since that torturously tempting Nick Fury cameo at the end of ‘Iron Man’.  The delicious taunts, that there may be an ‘Avengers’ film, continued a few months later in ‘The Incredible Hulk’.  By the time the ‘Captain America’ and ‘Thor’ films released we knew it for fact.  ‘The Avengers’ was coming and all sign posts pointed to something very special.
The idea for ‘The Avengers’ first surfaced during the production of ‘Iron Man’ when producer Kevin Feige had a notion that S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division) could be part of both ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’.
Says Feige, “We started looking at the list of characters in the Marvel Universe that hadn’t been taken by other studios: Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow, and I thought, isn’t that interesting; all of these characters happen to form one of the most popular comic book series—‘The Avengers’.
“When the idea of a Nick Fury cameo started coming up, we called Sam Jackson, and he thought it was a cool idea,” continues Feige.  “It was his enthusiasm about it that led us to shoot that end credit scene and what he says to Tony Stark in the scene, ‘You’re part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it yet.’  The line was also Marvel telling that to the audience as well.”
But it all came together when Joss Whedon (Director and screenplay) was assigned the task of bringing these huge franchises together.  “Joss Whedon came in and was very interested,” recalls Kevin Feige.  “I have known Joss since 2001 and I told him that one of the most important things with ‘The Avengers’ is it needs to stand alone and you need to structure it in a way so that people can watch the film without having seen any of the other Marvel films and get the story start to finish.”
Says Whedon, “Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America don’t seem like they could co-exist and ultimately that is what intrigued me and made me go, ‘This can be done and this should be done.’  These people don’t belong together and wouldn’t get along, and as soon as that dynamic came into focus, I realized that I actually had something to say about these people.”
And say it he does in 142 minutes of action, laughs, and incredible special effects that will please the most anti-popcorn blockbuster patrons.  It is non-stop ride from an early scene at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters when Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), arrives through a portal created by the mysterious Tesseract power source upon which S.H.I.E.L.D. has been experimenting.  Loki, with his serious ego problems, has decided he’s going to subjugate Earth by bringing a huge army through an enlarged portal using the Tesseract.  Apparently, humans were “made to be ruled.”
Loki sets off to orchestrate his master plan after turning Hawkeye (JEREMY RENNER) and a couple of key S.H.I.E.L.D employees into his mindless minions using his groovy, long, walking stick-like weapon.  Meanwhile, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), with the help of Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), sets about assembling the superheroes we have come to know and love to create ‘The Avengers’.  
But Steve Rogers /Captain America (Chris Evans) is only just coming to terms with the fact he has been asleep for seventy years and isn’t keen.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has returned to Asgard a hero, having redeemed himself on Earth.  Dr Banner/The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is not excited either to return from his isolated, safer life in India.  Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is busy working on his own green power project.  And didn’t S.H.I.E.L.D reject him from the programme anyway?  
It seems Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the world’s greatest spy, is the only one taking all of this seriously.  She seriously wants to rescue her ally, Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) from being super-evil thanks to Loki.  His skills, as the world’s greatest archer, would sure come in handy during an invasion.
But these guys all have super-egos and in the case of Banner, super alter egos.  “We’re not a team.  We’re a time bomb,” quips Banner.  And, of course, Tony Stark freely admits that he doesn’t play well with others.  The real fun is watching these irreverent super-heroes come together.  Not only is the action intense, but the one-liners erupt from each character with such speed, you find yourself laughing and knuckle clutching almost simultaneously.
The true skill of Whedon’s script and direction is the extension of each character’s story from their own previous films without interfering with the pace.  Add to that, convincing, WOW special effects seamlessly choreographed with little navel gazing— and when there is NG, as Thor discovers, you get it slapped out of you quick smart—and you have an unrivalled theatrical blast.
Do you need to see the other films before ‘The Avengers’?  No, but I must warn you, that once you’ve enjoyed this film, you will want to see all the previous films and this one again.  So, you will be busier than a hiveful of Superheroes for the following few weeks.  Loki was right.  We film-going mortals were made to be ruled, at least temporarily, by ‘The Avengers’.

Read Fun Facts on Marvel's 'The Avengers'... Click here